End

Already in 1983, the Political Advisory Committee of the Warsaw Pact countries instructed the defence ministries of the coalition armies that they should have an airborne assault force available by the beginning of 1986, as well as an appropriate training base. In 1985, the political leaders of the NVA stipulated that  by 1986  the armed forces were to create an airborne assault regiment for peace-time, on the basis of the Paratroop Battalion (LStR peace structure), and two airborne assault battalions (LStB) for wartime.

Of these, one LStB from the regiment was to be permanently on standby and a second LStB to be ready within two days of mobilization (M+2) (LStB war structure). It was intended for heavy weapons such as grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft artillery to be loaded onto the UAZ 469 cross-country vehicle. This was partially achieved by 89/90 in the specially founded “weapons company”.

At an early stage, as of spring 84, the FJB reoriented it operational principles in alignment with so-called airborne assault activities. This was a complicated matter because the branch had so far neither considered nor provided training in such dimensions. The LStB was defined as an element of the operational structure in the army in general, destined for deployment in an army assault or defence operation. Hence the need for two LStB, so that both the 3rd and the 5th NVA army had this component at their disposal in wartime. The LStB would have had specific assignments to fulfil in support of the army’s course of action, depending on the nature of the operation. For example, formation of a bridgehead at a major water obstacle during an assault or holding a strategic sector to enable assembly for a counter-attack.

Much attention was paid to the implementation of air-lifting the units to the combat area. In this respect the future LStR relied to a large extent on collaboration with the Transport Helicopter Squadron (THG) 34, which was stationed nearby in Brandenburg. Bearing in mind the tangible lack of air transport facilities, it would have been necessary for the Soviet or even Polish Army to ensure extensive coverage.

As of 1984/87, the Regulation for Combat Engagement for Airborne Assault Units (DV 325/0/003-8) came into force for the branch, defining the missions in operation. It included definitions of the essentials for the conduct of battle behind enemy lines, for the preparation of a mission up to the air-landing itself, for assault and defence during different seasons and under varying terrain conditions, for raids and engagement backup.

Transformation of training from task group tactics with small groups to training units up to the size of battalion incurred considerable difficulties. These were reflected primarily in a dreaded loss of identity among the paratroopers, which actually occurred to some extent. Little love was lost in respect of these consolidated missions. The professional cadre in particular, who had thought and instructed in terms of small commando operations for decades, had to devise a completely new approach.